Originally created 07/12/00

Braves fare well for league



ATLANTA -- The Braves' four All-Star players looked, well, at home in their home ball park.

Chipper Jones had three hits, including a home run.

Tom Glavine tossed a 1-2-3 inning.

Andruw Jones added a hit.

But as far as the Braves are concerned, the night belonged to Andres Galarraga.

"To make this team, it can't be something better," said Galarraga, who notched his first All-Star hit and led all players in smiles. "Getting my first hit ... it's a really special moment in my career."

The players all seemed to enjoy themselves. Randy Johnson needed just eight pitches to breeze through the first inning.

"I was pretty pleased to throw eight (pitches) and get the game over for me so I could be a fan," said Johnson.

Chipper Jones, who missed the 1999 All-Star Game before winning the National League Most Valuable Player award, singled in the first inning, belted an opposite-field home run in the third and singled again in the fifth to make his case for the game's MVP award.

Andruw Jones added an RBI single in the fifth, giving Atlanta players five of the NL's first seven hits.

Galarraga watched the 1999 All-Star Game from home while recovering from surgery to remove a cancerous growth from his spine. He was named the starter this season by NL manager Bobby Cox when elected starter Mark McGwire could not play because of a sore knee.

The All-Star Game, then, became one more in a series of emotional welcome-back moments this year for Galarraga, who opened the season with a game-winning home run on Opening Day. The Braves are 15-2 when Galarraga has a home run.

"This day is one of the best, probably," said Galarraga. "The Opening Day here in Atlanta is probably one of the best days in my career. Today is more special to be in this group."

The Big Cat drew the notice of everyone at Turner Field. When he walked in from center field with his family, he drew the first standing ovation of the night, and the crowd drowned him with cheers when he was introduced in the starting lineup and both times he came to the plate.

He drew the notice of the other players, too.

"That's a great story, for him to come back and have the year that he's having this year," said Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, the game's MVP. "He got a warm reception from the fans and from the players."

Galarraga's single off Oakland's Jason Isringhausen was his second hard-hit ball of the night. In the second inning against AL starter David Wells, he scalded a line drive to left field that was caught by Carl Everett.

"With Andres, I had the ball right over the plate, and he crushed it," said Wells. "He did the same thing to me about a month ago when we played the Braves. That man can hit."

Chipper became the 13th player to hit an All-Star home run in his home park, and the first in three years. He was the first NL player to do it since Hank Aaron homered in the 1972 midsummer classic at then Atlanta Stadium.

"The home run contest was a lot more nerve-wracking than the game," said Jones. "I mean, when you're out there playing the game, that's your domain. That's where I feel most comfortable."

The Braves' performances perhaps eased any criticisms NL manager Bobby Cox received for picking four players from his own club.

"You hear questions all week long about people questioning Bobby's picks and what not, and there's not a guy here tonight wearing a Braves uniform that doesn't deserve to be on that ballclub ... It's extremely gratifying to back our manager."